Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Boyne Set To Make An Impression On Eastern Skiing

Just a couple months after the announcement came that Boyne USA had outbid Les Otten to become the new owner/operators of Sunday River and Sugarloaf/USA ski resorts in Maine, the rumors started to fly about the future of said ski resorts. The resorts, the last remaining eastern holdings of the now de-listed American Skiing Company, are two of the largest and most popular resorts in the east and draw skiers from as far away as Britain. Both resorts are sorely in need of upgrades in almost all areas, but with the closing of the sale not coming until July, things such as new lifts, lodges, and trails are just not feasible. It's a good thing Boyne and it's President have a handy drawing board.

At an August town council meeting in Bethel, just to the west of Sunday River, Boyne announced their desire to light three trails for night skiing. Locals, second home owners, and long time patrons were taken aback. Such an idea had been thought of before, but the capital wasn't there. Instead, Sunday River hosts two lists for lit snowtubing, which let's just say, hasn't been a big draw, but there in lies the problem with these two resorts. After the lifts close, the options are limited, especially for people staying there with kids. While there has been some dispute over how much light would be seen from various parts of the region, the vibe at this resort is good. Not just because Boyne has taken a step in the right direction, but mostly because they have solicited the thoughts of the people who live in the area.

While night skiing may not come to fruition for the 2007-08 season at Sunday River, Boyne has already begun work at Sugarloaf, increasing snow making capacity and beginning to address long term needs. The big news came this week when it was learned that Boyne has gathered a group of 21+ people from various industries to form a committee to set forth the direction for the two resorts. The marketing and development company said to be chosen to lead this endeavor, created the long term plans for resorts such as Whisler/Blackcomb, Statton, and Mont Tremblant. Said to be done in a matter of months instead of years, this is an exciting time for eastern skiers and the future with Boyne (and financial backers CNL) looks very bright!